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Earnings Season Preview: 2 Things to Watch For in Healthcare

By Motley Fool Staff - Oct 14, 2017 at 12:10AM

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J&J is the lead-off hitter, and its Remicade results will tell us a lot. So will the biosimilar numbers from Pfizer.

In this Market Foolery podcast, and with the big news coming out of healthcare, host Chris Hill calls upon the expert insight of Industry Focus: Healthcare host Kristine Harjes.

In this segment, they look ahead to earnings season, and Kristine tells us a couple of things she'll be keeping an eye out for: how well Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ 1.13%) biologic autoimmune drug Remicade is faring in the face of a biosimilar from Pfizer (PFE -0.23%), and how Pfizer is doing with its biosimilars more broadly.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on Oct. 10, 2017.

Chris Hill: Earnings season coming up. What are you looking at in the healthcare industry as we head into earnings season? And what should investors like me, who are not as engrossed in healthcare as you are every week on Industry Focus, what is, either a specific company that we should be watching, or just a trend that we should be looking for? Because it's not like retail. I know that every quarter matters for the healthcare industry, but certainly for retail, when you're heading into the holidays, it's a lot more important.

Kristine Harjes: So Johnson & Johnson will kick off the healthcare earnings season, as it usually does. So they report on Oct. 17. I'll definitely be looking at their earnings report pretty carefully. Particularly, I'm looking out for a drug called Remicade, which is an autoimmune-disease drug. This is one that has new competition from a Pfizer drug called Inflectra. Inflectra is a biosimilar, which is like a fancy generic for Remicade. There have been a lot of sales decline for Remicade due to Inflectra because it's a little bit cheaper. Although, because of the complexity of it, it's not as much cheaper as a generic usually is compared to its brand-name drug. It's about 10% cheaper. So the drop-off hasn't really been as steep.

But there's this really interesting backstory going on where Pfizer is fighting with Johnson & Johnson about how J&J is talking to the different insurance companies to try to keep Remicade on the formularies and not offer Inflectra at all. There was a really awesome Industry Focus episode on this while I was a way that my coworker, Michael Douglass, covered for me. He and Todd Campbell were talking on the Sept. 27 episode about this whole issue. Really interesting, if any of our listeners want to go check that out over at Industry Focus.

I will definitely be looking through J&J's report to see how Remicade is doing, whether there's some more drop-off, whether management has any commentary about the issue with Pfizer and Pfizer has become more vocal regarding this. I'll also be interested to see Pfizer's earnings as well. Pfizer bought a company called Hospira back in 2015, and this was a gigantic acquisition, something to the tune of $17 billion. And they bought it for the biosimilars portfolio that Hospira had. So it'll certainly be interesting to see whether or not that's starting to pan out with drugs like Inflectra.

Hill: Who comes up with these names? Is it just me, or is the healthcare, the biopharmaceutical industry, it's just, all of these names. Whether it's for companies or drugs, it really seems like they're bending over backward to come up with a name that's either hard to pronounce or has no logic behind it whatsoever.

Harjes: It's a Ouija board, actually. [laughs]

Hill: [laughs] I believe it.

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Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
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Johnson & Johnson Stock Quote
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